(Mar. 22) – A bipartisan bill to address the out of control practice of sending consumers out-of-network bills, sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, was approved today by the House.
“As a legislator, my job is to find a way to ensure Coloradans aren’t dealing with these surprise medical bills through no fault of their own,” said Rep. Esgar, D-Pueblo. “I am responding to to the concerns of families, individuals and seniors who have been hit by these surprise and often expensive bills. We think this is a strong bipartisan solution to this problem.”
HB19-1174 prohibits out-of-network billing by providers when the patient unknowingly received the care from an out-of-network provider or facility. It also requires providers to inform consumers of their rights regarding bills sent to them by out-of-network providers. The bill does not prohibit patients from incurring out of network costs when they intentionally go out of network for their care but puts safeguards in place to prevent unexpected medical bills in these situations.
Out-of-network bills can be more than thirty times the average in-network rate. Fifty-seven percent of patients who encountered out-of-network bills paid the bills in full because they didn’t know of their right to fight these bills.
This legislation is meant to help control costs in out-of-network billing situations by setting a reasonable rate of payment for these providers and facilities.
The House approved the bipartisan bill on a vote of 60-4. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The bill also has bipartisan sponsorship in the Senate by Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs.